A group of MBBS graduates who appeared in National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for post graduate (PG) medical courses, have approached the Kerala High Court challenging a circular issued by the State government increasing reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) from 9 percent to 27 percent in such courses (Dr. Sreeparvathy & Ors. v Commissioner of Entrance Examinations & Anr.)..Justice N Nagaresh heard the matter at length today and posted it for further hearing tomorrow as the matter must be resolved before admissions for PG medical courses commence.Senior advocate Sukumaran representing the petitioners, informed the Court that several similar matters are already pending before the Supreme Court.At this point, Justice Nagaresh directed the petitioners to confirm whether the matter is exactly the same and if that be so, it would't be proper for the High Court to adjudicate the case. .The petitioners approached the Court challenging a recent revision of the number of seats reserved to various categories for admission to PG medical courses in the State which, according to them, violated constitutional norms.There are a total of 833 seats for PG courses out of which 427 seats are filled up from the rank list prepared by the Commissioner of Entrance Exams. Until last year, in Kerala, 9 percent of these seats were reserved for SEBC candidates.However, on October 20, 2021, the Kerala government issued a Government Order (GO) revising the reservation pattern by introducing a 10 percent reservation for service quota and increasing the SEBC reservation from 9 percent to 27 percent.According to the petitioners, this supposedly decreases the merit seats for general candidates to 38 percent once the reservation for other classes including disabled persons are taken into consideration.The petition, filed through advocate S Sujin, pointed out that the Supreme Court has held in various decisions that at the specialised (PG) level, reservations have to be minimal.The primary contention raised by the petitioners was that the the new GO goes against the letter and spirit of Supreme Court decisions particularly those case which was held that such reservations would be detrimental to national interest and lead to the dilution of merit at the speciality level. The top court, while upholding the 27 percent reservation for backward classes introduced by the Central Government in 1990, had issued a slew of directions in Indra Sawhney v Union of India. It had been held that if the existing 9 percent reservation for SEBC was not adequate for a particular State, the State Government must provide the details for the same, the plea said. This decision was followed by the top court in various other cases including in Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil v The Chief Minister & Ors. in which the Supreme Court had struck down the claim to Maratha reservation, citing that the reservation ceiling in a State cannot exceed 50 percent as mandated by Indra Sawhney. However, it was argued that in contravention of the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court, the Kerala government issued the GO which would effectively increase reservation seats beyond 50 percent.Moreover, it was pointed out that the new GO offered no details or reasons for increasing the reservation for SEBC from 9 percent to 27 percent.Further, it is also claimed that the situation in Kerala is unique when compared to other states as SEBC candidates secure seats within the merit quota as well and are adequately represented.The petitioners, therefore, sought to quash the GO and for directions to be issued to the respondents to prepare the selection list for admission to PG courses for the year 2020-21 unfettered by said GO..Currently, several petitions are before the Supreme Court challenging the 27 percent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) and 10 percent reservation for Economically Weaker Section in all-India Quota seats for postgraduate medical courses.On October 25, the Central government had assured the Supreme Court that counselling for NEET PG courses will not commence until the top court decides the case.